On fridays we wear Red Shirt

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On fridays we wear Red Shirt

By the time pharaohs ruled Egypt, the number of reds used in artmaking had multiplied to include cinnabar, a natural mercuric sulfide that was also incredibly toxic. (The mercury mine in Almadén, Spain, where Rome later extracted its cinnabar, was basically a death sentence for workers.) Ancient Romans loved the brilliant red pigment, a preference reflected in its high prices during that time. Pliny the Younger wrote that cinnabar cost 15 times more than red ochre from Africa and was equal in price to the precious Egyptian blue. Gladiators who emerged victorious from the Colosseum might be smeared with the shiny red mineral and then paraded through the streets of Rome. Cinnabar is also prominently featured in the murals that grace the walls of upper-class villas in Pompeii.Cinnabar later became synonymous with the carved lacquer produced in China beginning in the 12th century. These elaborately patterned luxury items, which could be anything from vases to incense holders, were typically colored with the powdery red pigment that gave them its name.

On fridays we wear Red Shirt
On fridays we wear Red Shirt
On fridays we wear Red Shirt23
On fridays we wear Red Shirt23

On fridays we wear Red Shirt

Like cinnabar, minium (also called “red lead”) is a highly poisonous material. Scholars consider it one of the first synthetic pigments, with Romans heating white lead to extreme temperatures to produce the paint. Its eye-popping orange shade showed up well against marble and gold, and it was often used for inscriptions. Later, medieval illustrators would employ the pigment in their illuminated manuscripts. But it was most popular with Mughal artists from India and Persia in the 17th and 18th centuries—so much so that their paintings became known as “miniatures,” after the minium that accented their works.Vincent van Gogh was an avid user of red lead, a decision that has frustrated conservators centuries later. As it turns out, minium “whitens” under light, and many of the Dutch painter’s most famous works have seen their red accents fade over time.

On fridays we wear Red Shirt5
On fridays we wear Red Shirt5
On fridays we wear Red Shirt1
On fridays we wear Red Shirt1

 

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